News / Asia

Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Class

Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Classi
X
February 20, 2013 7:54 PM
Major trade unions in India have called a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday to protest increased fuel costs, inflation and what they say are the government’s failed economic policies. VOA correspondent Aru Pande takes a closer look at how retail inflation, which hit nearly 11 percent in January, is affecting the country’s poor and middle class.

Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Class

Aru Pande
Major trade unions in India have called a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday to protest increased fuel costs, inflation and what they say are the government’s failed economic policies. Retail inflation, which hit nearly 11 percent in January, is affecting the country’s poor and middle class.
 
 It’s 5 p.m. and customers are crowding this vegetable market in the northern Indian city of Lucknow.
 
Annamma Rajput listens closely to the vendors and then haggles to bring prices down. She focuses on the onion - an Indian staple used in nearly every dish - whose price has jumped dramatically in recent months.
 
“Onion was 10 rupees, 15 rupees a kg [kilogram], now it is 20, 40 something like that. It’s very expensive for the common people,” said Rajput.
 
And for the school coordinator, spending more on produce, means having less to spend on other household goods.
 
"It is so expensive. What will we do for our other things also? We have got children, we have to bring them up - vegetables are not the basic thing for the children, isn’t it?” she asked.
 
India’s consumer price inflation rose to 10.79 percent in January and government figures show the price of vegetables increased by 26 percent compared to December of last year.
 
At the Lucknow market, retired geology department director S.F. Farooqui said the government’s recent increase in fuel prices is partly to blame.
 
“As far as vegetables are concerned, it is the impact of only oil. When oil goes up, that means the transportation cost increases,” said Farooqui.
 
But economists such as D.H. Pai Panandikar say the main reasons for stubbornly high food inflation are neither the high cost of transport, nor - as in the case of the onion - last year’s drought in parts of the country. He said it's a simple issue of supply and demand.
 
“With the improvement in incomes, people are shifting their consumption patterns from food grains to fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and so on,” said Panandikar.
 
Panandikar said the government can take certain steps, though, to increase supply and ease prices.
 
“For instance, the government can give loans at cheaper rates of interest for dairies so they can develop really fast, one thing they can do. The second thing is to give vegetable growers or fruit growers better seeds with high productivity,” said Panandikar.
 
Meantime, analysts say food inflation not only is hurting people’s wallets; it has a broader effect on the economy.  
 
More money spent on food means less to spend on clothes and other goods. And low consumer demand is causing India’s industrial production to continue shrinking, contributing to a gross domestic product that is expected to drop to 5 percent for the fiscal year ending in March - the lowest GDP in a decade.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid